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mother of josh, richard, and mutt. lover of books, yarn, and the quiet places. spinner, knitter, kayaker, survivor, vandweller, warrior.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

the value of empty




i get a daily meditation from the tao te ching. todays was especially meaningful because it speaks to me on so many levels.

"Thirty spokes are joined together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that allows the wheel to function.

We mold clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that makes the vessel useful.

We fashion wood for a house,
but it is the emptiness inside
that makes it livable.

We work with the substantial,
but the emptiness is what we use."

when i first read this, i thought of my van. on my first couple cross-country trips, i was proud of how much i could fit in all the nooks and crannies, and how many valuable, useful things i could haul along while remaining organized. on my last trip, though, i began to realize the value of emptiness.....of useable space. for many of us, downsizing is an ongoing project, a renewable goal. 

the last few months have been a downsizing in many other ways. i have been doing things more mindfully and with greater focus than i am usually capable of.   it is very hard for me, slowing down the inner turmoil and the cacophony of thoughts tumbling around in my head. even when those thoughts are positive or cheerful, as they often are, the are tiring. my mind does not always feel like my own..... it is crowded and busy and all to often self-absorbed. i said to a friend not long ago "i will really attain minimalism when i can downsize my brain".

i thought of that statement again after re-reading the above meditation a few times. "we work with the substantial but the emptiness is what we use". it hit me this evening how meaningful that is to me.  i don't think i have come close to understanding it....if anything, i don't want to overthink it, and miss the whole point. for now, i'm just going to let it be what it is.

i've been really scarce on the internet lately, been on a kind of digital diet. i have been practicing slow-down kind of things (i am reluctant to use the word "meditation" in the same blog post that references my thought processes!) and i have been having some success which delights me no end. i have fallen in love all over again with knitting and have taken up colorwork which involves counting and following charts.....mindful and purposeful and satisfying.  i am appreciating simple things in a way i haven't in a long time. i am grateful for the snippets of stillness that i stumble over, when i least expect it, and i have no doubt that there will be more........


Friday, January 07, 2011

new vandweller forum

wanted to get the word out about the new vandweller forum over at Bob Wells'  "cheaprvliving" website.

so many of us have gotten our start, or benefited from Bob's website in some way. there is a ton of information there, and now a new forum where we can ask questions, share our stories, and glean information on the mobile lifestyle. please come join us, we will be glad to have you!

http://www.cheaprvlivingforum.com/